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Must be strong. Must not get electronic Wrath upgrade.

Damn you Blizzard!

*shakes fist*

Hmmmm

So - I've been back, what, a month? I'm already thinking about cancelling my Wrath pre-order and my account. I'm not sure entirely why I'm not enjoying it but these are the things that are bugging me, in no particular order.

1) Joining 'And The Wheelies' was probably a mistake. I thought a new bunch of people might make things interesting, but I *really* don't have the time for raiding and because I don't know any of them (asides from ex-SD people) I feel like an outsider. I think when you add this to the fact that their main focus is ten-man raids I think it was a mistake and I was only doing it because everyone else was. I suspect I have the WoW equivalent of social phobia as I *really* don't like playing with people I don't know...

2) Raiding. This is going to become such a major part of the game at 80 and I just don't have time for it. I *hate* using voicechat - it makes me feel really isolated from the world outside (and Thomas). I like playing on my laptop, with the TV or music on, being able to talk to Thomas and not be an anti-social git locked away in my study with headphones on.

3) I'm sad that Silver Daggers is now basically an alts guild. We don't actually have enough people who have main characters left in the guild to do an all-guild run of a five man. If anyone was actually interested in doing five-mans that was (see 1). Its stupid and silly and shouldn't matter but somehow there is a big difference between soloing when there are other people in gchat and when you're the only one. I think it's just the little things like being able to link everyone shinies that have dropped, or you are lusting after, or a new discovery in inscription. It even sours the achievement system (of which I will say more in my next point) as there is no one on to get the auto-announcements! I don't blame cellardoor28 - it was probably inevitable anyway - but I'm still sad.

4) Achievements. Everyone else is really getting into these and I quite liked them to start, but the novelty has worn off for me rather quickly. Its all a bit backwards looking and reflecting on past glories and times when, to be brutally honest, I had more fun playing. Strangely the achievement system brings on similar feelings as I got when I was on Facebook...

So - I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm out at the weekend and away next week anyway so won't be playing at all. I'm sure I'll be on in dribs and drabs before then but after Friday I just don't know...

ETA: I think part of the problem is that I don't actually think I'm very good at the game. OK I'm not awful and a complete liability, but I don't have any confidence that I actually add anything to a group. I know this sounds terribly like I'm begging for validation - but tbh it's *always* been the case to a certain degree. I guess this is what happens when you play a Mage for three years...

Break

I've decided to stop my recurring subscription. This gives me about six week or so left.

Not sure how long I'll stay away - might be a while as I imagine July and August will be pretty busy with house moving stuff and I'm not sure how long it will take to get back online after we move.

I expect I'll be back in the autumn and definitely when Lich King appears (for Christmas?).

Firsts

Well - there have been a few firsts in the last couple of days.

Sunday - Janney tanked for the first time. There was death and destruction, but mainly of Orcs, so I think that counts as a win! I took Ev, after much faffing about trying to remember how to play druid (and much sorting out of gear - luckily the quest rewards and drops have thinned things out a bit). I was uncommonly lucky on the rolls for greens, but failed to win any blues (except a twig of the world tree that was in a lock box - strangely I had just sold mine). Only slightly shakey moment was where I had to instarez Grenthallar as Ian hadn't been paying attention to his own health bar.

Monday - I went to my first level 70 instance, Steamvaults. We were probably a little bit underpowered for it (Liz at 68 priest in shadowspec couldn't quite keep up with the healing at the bosses so Sus had to take over) and the first boss in particular was problematic (I was the last man standing after 3 or more wipes and just managed to finish her off before she could hit me or cast another hurricane). I think it is a testament to our awesomeness that we *did* actually finish it. I got the dungeon set 3 (is that T0.75?) shoulders, a turban with a metagem slot as a quest reward and the battlecast hood pattern.

I'm now trying to decide on gems, especially the metagem. I didn't realise but metagems are cut from stones that are transmuted by alchemists so in theory it *should* be possible to get one relatively easily (*makes POM!-face at Liz*). Of course finding the jewelcrafting design to cut it may be a bit more tricky - guess I will have to keep an eye out in the AH. Metagems are interesting in that you need certain numbers of gems of specific types before you can socket them. Looking at what I currently have I think that I might be able to socket a Mystical Skyfire Diamond but I'm not sure if I'll be socketing an Insightful Earthstorm Diamond any time soon (unless a purple or green gem fullfills two of the requirements - would five purple gems and five yellow work?)... I guess I need to start mopping up the netherstorm and shadowmoon valley quests for cash (though I almost have enough to pay back Hoggy for the loan).

Other matters - the wonderful Sus/Hoggy combo had both the L70 mage books drop and very kindly passed them my way - L65 water *seriously* reduces downtime, so big yay to that. I've decided that, for now, I'm going to respec to arcane/frost, but losing Slow and keeping Ice Block. A lot of the talents in Arcane will boost damage on all trees - so seems the most sensible for solid DPS (rather than the mad burst of fire). I don't think I'm quite man enough to solo without some of the survivability that frost gives me. Blake has broken through the L40 barrier and is now L42, so hopefully I'll be able to get through the 40s without too much pain. Elkk mount is great (but strangely doesn't leave much in the way of footprints in sand or snow).

Where do we go from here?

So - I have played a fair bit of WoW during my week off work and finally got Maddyn to 70 and Blake to 40. I thinking that once I've paid snowking back the gold he lent me to buy my flying mount (ace feature - I bought the Ebony Gryphon and spent most of last night exploring) I'm going to respec to Arcane as I decided to go for spellfire tailoring (partially because noone else was doing this, but mainly because I was thinking of respeccing at 70 to a more DPS orientated build than Frost anyway). I have this sneaking suspicion that this will make soloing harder, but should buff my DPS considerably in groups at the expense of mana efficiency.

I've been looking at the talent trees and the main options seem to be:

I rather like this Slow/Shatter build as it has the potential for an insane amount of crit and will make keeping the mobs away from me easier than a arcane/fire build. Main nuke would be Arcane Blast with Frostbolt and Ice Lance in reserve.

This is the classic 3 Minute Mage build which has got a whole lot nicer with the top-end arcane talents of Mind Mastery and Slow. Potentially very mana intensive, but Master of Elements may help with that (no idea if the mana returned is effected by Arcane Power or not though). I dread to think how much damage arcane missiles will do with this build - especially with full Wrath of Spellfire...

Of course the options open up a lot if I don't go as high as Slow (an AoEy build with Blast Wave for example)...

Any comments? Obviously for most of you this will be pure Theorycraft, but I'm interested in what people think.

Meh

I think the post-expansion honeymoon period has worn off as I'm currently feeling supremely 'meh' about all my characters. Maddyn is fun to solo (though I'm finding the badly written quest text combined with not knowing where anything is makes solo questing rather frustrating at times) - and a hell of a lot easier now that he is frost but I feel like a totally spare part in instances. Part of this is because Mages don't really have a role in an instance unless it is particularly AoE heavy (Strat, BRD, DM:E/W) or crowd control is *uber* important (DM:N Tribute) and part of it is because I'm not leveling very quickly (and even if I was magical DPS doesn't scale with gear anything like as well as physical damage does). Evandar would probably feel more useful in instances (instant heals/battle rez's, lots of shifting to suit the situation) but that would just mean more competition for leather loot so probably isn't a good idea either. I enjoyed doing the Draenei starting zones with my Shaman Blake - but I'm now back in Wetlands/Duskwood which I've recently done large chunks of with Wash and really not in the mood to do it all again. Dayna would be a good choice to level to 60+ and join the groups (hybrid utility, less competition for plate, good survivability for solo questing) but she's at that awful early 40s stage where everything seems like a grind.

Meh pretty much sums it up I think...

Respeccing Evandar

I'm toying with respeccing Evandar to a more hybrid/role-switching spec as I don't really think that having three almost identically specced L60 Druids is a good idea.

Things I definately want are Omen of Clarity, Feral Charge and Nature's Swiftness - everything else is negotiable:

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=zzLV0oZxxos0rZExboMo

I quite like the idea of this - I could probably tank *and* heal pretty effectively with this build and wouldn't loose too much for soloing.

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=0zjVboZxx0sZExboMo

More of a 'true' hybrid - outdoor kiting with imp Entangling Roots but still decent DPS in kitty form - resto tree stays the same.

Of course there are a myriad of variations on this theme - but these seem the most viable to me. I suspect that I would miss Faery Fire (Feral) with these builds - I guess I'd just have to get used to shifting more often when soloing...

Druid BC Talents

http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/underdev/burningcrusade/druid/spells.html

Some good stuff and some plain whacky stuff.

Cyclone - 6s banish - not sure how useful it will be

Maim - this looks bloody great - we still won't be able to stunlock people though
Lacerate - a bleed in bear form - good stuff

Flight Form - Yay! Only useable in Outland natch. I wonder if this will let you get to the areas only reachable on flying mounts?

Lifebloom - A HoT that does an instant heal when it finishes or is dispelled. Take that Shamen!

It is the talents where things get a little bit insane. The top level Resto talent is tree form! You can only cast Swiftmend and HoTs - but the cost less mana. Imp LotP looks really nice but I'd need to know more details of Mangle to decide (I forget what other classes have bleed effects). Force of nature also seems a bit crazy - not sure what the utility of three uncontrollable mechanical yeti type combat pets will be...
I haven't done an update on here for a while. Anyone would think I'd stopped playing. No, they really wouldn't would they?

Anyway - the current state of play:

Maddyn - I've been to all the 5 man instances with Maddyn now and I'm pretty happy with his kit. Have done a bit of PvPing (I mainly enjoy AV) and I've got to decide if I want to get an epic mount or not.

Evandar - Now L60 and mopping up a few quests for cash. Spent most of the weekend sneaking around Lower Blackrock Spire (stealth runs are a lot of fun) and we managed to get Janney the key to UBRS and most of the quests (well - the important ones that involve pets anyway). I did rather well for loot - two pairs of boots (Wildheart for healing/casting and a pair with AP for tanking) and the cash boost from the quest rewards was nice too. Having got the wildheart boots I decided I'd have a look on the AH to see if any of the BoE bits were available and I saw two pairs of gloves up for 10g BO. Needless to say I bought both pairs and immediately relisted one of them for 39g which had sold when I logged on this morning to check :D I don't often get good buys at the AH - but it was very nice to be able to make 25g (after fees) with no effort involved on my side at all. I'm trying to decide if I want to PvP a bit with Evandar and get to Sergeant so I can get a cheap epic Kitty (though I could get cellardoor28 to buy it for me I guess). Between all my toons I have about 550g - so I've got a while to go before I have to decide on who gets the epic mount first...

Otho - Otho is now a Tribal Leatherworker after much turtleicide in the general area of Steamwheedle Port. Finally means I'll be able to clear all those Wicked Claws out of the bank! Wolf hats for all (or at least that section of the Druidic population that are willing to pay 11g on the AH)! The Plan (such as it is) is to get him up to L60 next. Pumbaa is *finally* L40 - it strikes me that hunter pets level very quickly when you kill things around their level - but much more slowly when you kill things more than 2 levels higher than them. Most odd...

Burning Crusade spell preview

So, erm, yeah the new mage spells look rather spiffy. Shamans appear to be getting even more overpowered than they already are (dual wield FFS) and warriors getting a spell reflect scares the living bejeebers out of me (no more free HK). Immediate thoughts on the new talent trees make me think that Arcane is going to be a viable option again and Ice is probably what I'd go for (I don't care what they say on the forums - Water Elemental pets is right and proper for a Mage).

In other news there have been queues on Dragonblight the last few nights - what's that all about?